FACT SHEET: MICHIGAN STADIUM RENOVATION PLANNING PROCESS
- Research and planning for renovations to Michigan Stadium began in 2001 when the Athletic Department hired a consultant to assist with facilities planning and conducted the first of its fan surveys on the game-day experience. Over the last five years, the department’s extensive research has included market studies on the interest in and feasibility of enclosed seating, focus groups, and detailed fan surveys as recently as 2005.
- In developing the renovation plan that was ultimately recommended and approved by the Board of Regents, U-M Athletics established sound planning principles, and considered several alternatives to determine which one would best meet its goals. Four alternatives were explored thoroughly with the board, and were shared with and reported on by the news media. In the end, the recommended plan was the only one that achieved all of the University’s goals and it also carried the least amount of financial risk.
- Planning for renovations to Michigan Stadium has been of intensive interest to the news media and the public. The Stadium renovation was the subject of major stories in the Michigan Daily in December 2004 and the Ann Arbor News in January 2005, nearly 18 months before the project was brought to the Regents for action in May 2006. Numerous stories have been written in the months since then.
- Also, as a result of FOIA requests and decisions by the University to be as transparent as possible in its planning, detailed information has been released to the news media and the public at various stages along the way. Information shared publicly has included preliminary plans and design direction in January 2005, RFPs in November 2005, more preliminary designs and alternative plans prior to the board meeting in May 2006, copies of market studies and fan surveys, and copies of correspondence from fans. In October 2006 the University released preliminary schematic designs, posted them prominently to the U-M website and shared them widely with ticketholders and the news media.
- Throughout this process, fans and community members have been invited to share their ideas, questions and comments. In 2005 Athletics established a dedicated e-mail address for fans to write with thoughts about the proposed renovations. A detailed website was created in May 2006 where preliminary plans and designs have regularly been posted. More than 2,500 letters have been received from fans via the e-mail address and website. In addition, more than 15 meetings have been held by Athletics throughout 2006 to discuss the renovation plans with fan and alumni groups, including four public presentations in October and November in Ann Arbor, Flint, Dearborn, and Grand Rapids.
- Community members also have written hundreds of letters to President Coleman and the Board of Regents over the past two years. In March 2005, the first individuals signed up for public comments at the board meeting to speak about the project. In 2006 there have been public commenters at four Regents’ meetings prior to today.
- The majority of fan input received by the University has been enthusiastically supportive of this project. Specific feedback from fans has shaped many aspects of the project.